Author Tom Swyers Responds to Critics of Novel "Saving Babe Ruth"

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Swyers says novel "Saving Babe Ruth" is protected free speech, and he maintains that a focus on professional sports in schools and in youth sports is hurting kids and families. He also challenges Newsweek's recent 2014 high school rankings study.

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Without positive outlets like community baseball, more kids are likely to fall through the cracks.

I have a First Amendment right to author a novel and I firmly stand behind "Saving Babe Ruth."

Tom Swyers, author of the novel "Saving Babe Ruth," said in an article published on his website today that he will continue to speak out on behalf of children despite recent remarks and criticism.

"Saving Babe Ruth" (Hillcrest House Publishing, 2014, ISBN 978-1941440001, $16.95, TomSwyers.com) is based on a true story about one man’s fight to save a kids’ baseball league in his hometown, a father who risks it all to save baseball for his son and for his sandlot players.

One character in the novel, Jerry Conway, has received particular attention. He is both a high school principal and a professional sports agent. Swyers said that "[r]eaders and reviewers don't believe such a character could exist." In the article, Swyers details these experiences.

On the other hand, Swyers said he received an email from J.R. Rickert, a professional sports agent who is also the principal of Niskayuna High School located in Upstate New York. Swyers said Rickert "expressed concern" about "Saving Babe Ruth" in an email that is also discussed in the article on the website.

Swyers happens to have graduated from the same high school back in the 1970s. In response to Rickert’s email, he said, “I have a First Amendment right to author a novel and I firmly stand behind 'Saving Babe Ruth.' I also have the First Amendment right to express my views concerning the affairs of my hometown school district.” Swyers added, “An emphasis on sports professionalism is seeping into community based youth sports and into our schools and this is hurting children and families everywhere.”

In his article, Swyers also states that Niskayuna graduates are not being admitted to the most popular colleges at the same rate as graduates from four other comparable high schools in the region, even though Niskayuna High School is ranked 26th in the nation by Newsweek magazine’s 2014 list of America’s Best High Schools. “When the highest ranked high school has the lowest college acceptance rate,” Swyers said, “it's time to start asking some questions.”

In 2009, Swyers was named Volunteer of the Year by the non-profit Babe Ruth League, Inc. in Eastern New York. He also serves as a volunteer trustee to two youth sports non-profit baseball organizations in New York.

Swyers believes that "Saving Babe Ruth" will triumph as free speech. He pointed out the book has received very favorable reviews and has resonated in communities across the nation. “I’m hopeful that 'Saving Babe Ruth' will prompt thought and discussion across this country about the many challenges faced by children today in youth sports and in the classroom. The issues confronted by 'Saving Babe Ruth' are universal and apply to families and communities everywhere and it’s time to discuss them openly without threats of retaliation.”

Learn more about "Saving Babe Ruth" at this link. View the entire article referred to in this press release on the website. "Saving Babe Ruth" is available in paperback at Amazon and in e-book format at most retail outlets.

About the Author:

Tom Swyers is a member of the National Alliance for Youth Sports, the National Youth Sports Administrators Association, and the Positive Coaching Alliance. He has studied at the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College and is a member of both the Authors Guild and the Hudson Valley Writers Guild. He lives with his wife and son in Upstate New York. His website address is TomSwyers.com. "Saving Babe Ruth" is his first novel.

About the Book:

Baseball is dying; only one man can save it. Based on a true story, "Saving Babe Ruth" is about a father will risk it all to save baseball for his son and all the sandlot kids in town. (Hillcrest House Publishing, 2014, ISBN 978-1941440001, $16.95, TomSwyers.com.) "Saving Babe Ruth" is available in paperback at Amazon and in e-book format at most retail outlets.

Review Copies and Media Interviews:

For a review copy of "Saving Babe Ruth" or an interview with Tom Swyers, please contact Betsy Savage, (518) 350-4342, BetsySavage(at)HillcrestHousePublishing(dot)com. When requesting a review copy, please provide a street address.

If you would like to receive this information as a Word document, please let us know.

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